I was lucky to visit this exhibition at the Art gallery of South Australia with a few of my fellow French students just days before it closed. Many thanks to frenchwithnicole.com.au for organising the day. What a splendid show it was! And what a beautiful gallery it is. There were not too many people, it was possible to stand in front of any painting for as long as you wanted and, dare I say it, far fewer visitors snapping away with their phones.
Many of the works were familiar from visits to the Quai d’Orsay in Paris but the way in which the show was curated was exciting. The works were grouped to show how these much-loved artists used colour in new ways, starting in the first room with rich blacks and deep tones, moving into a room of snowy scenes with blue reflections, then works of blue and green, then rose and violet. The walls of the various rooms were painted in complementary colours to show off the paintings. A cool lavender for the snowy paintings, a deep blue-green in the blue and green room.
On these chilly mornings I am reminded of the superlative breakfasts I enjoyed at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, Ireland. The porridge was one of the highlights. It was made from stone ground oats, alongside was a jug of cream and unrefined brown sugar that melted almost instantly into toffee-like trails. Steel-cut oats, or pinhead oats, are different from the rolled oats that are more commonly used. Rolled oats are first steamed, then pressed between rollers and dried. They absorb liquid more quickly and thus the porridge cooks faster but with a loss of flavour. For steel-cut oats, each oat ‘groat’ is split into several nubby pieces. Usually simmered with water (sometimes pre-soaked) the porridge retains much of the shape of the groat, resulting in a chewy and nutty-tasting porridge.
Being made with water you can add cream to this bowl of porridge without any twinge of guilt. As a child my favourite was hot milk, brown sugar and a lump of butter. I enjoyed watching the butter melt into a golden pool on the surface of the bowl before I stirred it in and ate it. I have never been a fan of slicing raw fruit such as bananas into my oatmeal. And I would prefer to have a separate bowl of stewed fruit rather than combining them.
I’m excited to announce that my new book, The Cook’s Apprentice, is at the printers and will be released in October 2018!
This book was inspired by The Cook’s Companion, but this time I found myself thinking of young people just starting to cook.
The new cooks I know often have many questions about ‘how?’ and ‘what is it?’. This new work concentrates on achievable (but of course delicious) recipes, highlighting and explaining each technique as well as identifying unusual ingredients and where to get them.
I had a curious teenager in mind as I wrote … but I know that new cooks come in all shapes and sizes, all genders, and all ages. Circumstances change in families, and sometimes even older ‘non-cooks’ find themselves becoming ‘new cooks’!
There are 54 chapters and 300 recipes. The language is straightforward and where a recipe has been transferred from some other work, I have scrutinised it to ensure that it is crystal-clear and never confuses. Each ingredient has its quirky and delightful hand-drawn image by artist and designer Evi O.
Last week I had the excitement of seeing a mockup of the final book whilst doing some short video clips for eventual social media promotion.
The Cook’s Apprentice will be available in bookstores and online from 1st of October 2018.
Available from Booktopia and Angus & Robertson.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne are looking for people aged 18–23 to take part in a new study about what young people are cooking and eating.
The What’s Cooking? study is a follow-up to the evaluation of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program that found children who were part of the Kitchen Garden Program had better cooking and gardening knowledge, skills, and confidence, and an increased willingness to try new foods.
The new evaluation aims to find out if these changes are retained when participants become independent young adults.
All adults aged between 18 and 23 years who attended primary school in Victoria are eligible to participate in the study.
Take the Survey
And now for the holiday edition. If you do not want to hear about my adventures in Jordan and Egypt, do not read on!
Many of our closest friends privately wondered whether my two friends and I would cope, but we did – through rough and bumpy tracks, over Roman paved roads, up and down staircases, down sloping boardwalks inside 3000+ year-old tombs. Mostly in plus 25 degree heat, including two days of over 35 degree heat and one of 42 degrees (I sat that one out!).